Indonesia cases up amid UK, China dip

The seven-day tally of COVID-19 cases in the UK has dropped by nearly 33 per cent on the prior week.
The seven-day tally of COVID-19 cases in the UK has dropped by nearly 33 per cent on the prior week.

Indonesian health officials have reported a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases while recorded infection numbers have fallen in the United Kingdom and China.

Indonesia reported 1054 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the highest daily increase in three months, as the government braces for a new wave of coronavirus infections driven by the spread of the Omicron variant.

The world's fourth most populous country grappled with a devastating second wave of infections in July, driven by the spread of the Delta variant.

Daily case numbers dropped to about 200 by December before rising this month amid reports of local transmission of the Omicron variant.

"Local transmission has been found and Jakarta has become an infection cluster," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in a statement on Saturday.

"We need to co-ordinate with regional government to tighten mobility and strengthen health protocols, (give) booster vaccine shots and strengthen health facilities."

Meanwhile, the UK reported 81,713 new cases on Saturday, leaving the seven-day tally down by nearly 33 per cent on the previous week.

It reported 287 deaths of people who had tested positive for the disease within the previous 28 days.

Coronavirus cases appear to be "plateauing" in parts of the UK, government health adviser Susan Hopkins said, adding that the number of infections was flattening in London, England's southeast and east.

The UK Health Security Agency chief medical adviser told the BBC cases were still relatively high, with one in 15 people in England infected and one in 20 elsewhere in the UK, but that there was a "slow down" in hospital admissions.

Hopkins said hospitals had been able to discharge patients "faster" due to Omicron being milder than previous coronavirus variants but that, with about 15,500 people in hospital last week, the National Health Service remains under "a lot of pressure".

China reported fewer new confirmed coronavirus cases for January 14 than a day earlier but details on the spread of the Omicron variant remained unclear ahead of the Lunar New Year travel season later this month.

In a statement on Saturday, China's National Health Commission reported 165 new confirmed coronavirus cases for January 14, down from 201 a day earlier.

Of the new infections, 104 were locally transmitted, according to a statement by the NHC, compared with 143 a day earlier.

The new locally transmitted cases were in Henan, Tianjin, Guangdong, Shaanxi and Zhejiang.

Cities across China have ratcheted up viral vigilance as Beijing prepares to stage the Winter Olympics from February 4.

Many local governments have advised residents not to leave town unnecessarily while dozens of international and domestic flights have been suspended.

Despite stringent controls, state media reported on Saturday that Beijing had detected an infection in a person working in the city's Haidian district.

China has reported locally transmitted infections of the Omicron variant in at least four provinces and municipalities - in the northern city of Tianjin, the central province of Henan, the southern province of Guangdong and the northeastern province of Liaoning.

Authorities have warned that Omicron adds to the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission as more people return to China from overseas for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Australian Associated Press